Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Oddly Enough

The other day I had occasion to spend some time in the company of a fellow I'm loosely acquainted with. And he was behaving very oddly.

Talking, talking, talking, like a compulsive motormouth. One contrived joke after another. Jokes, observations, remarks, anything to avoid a moment's silence. Sort of like a running-off-at-the-mouth stand-up comedian, you know?

And the strangest part of it was, he was talking as if he were black. I don't think he was even consciously aware of it, but his pronunciation, his dialect, his wording, his elocution, were all thoroughly African-American. A fellow in his thirties, blond, Germanic, a lifelong Northerner. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was going on with him.

Then I realized, oh yeah, he went through a divorce within the past year. That explains it. That usually explains a lot. Like the old friend of mine, about as straitlaced as a fellow can be without being in the least a bluenose, and he got divorced and spent the next six months falling into bed with unknown women he met at parties.

Nonstop jokey babbling, in a novel accent that just doesn't fit the speaker. Chalk it up to divorce. It makes sense, which is to say it doesn't make sense, but for precisely that reason it does make sense.

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